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October 30, 2010
For 100 miles she cried
The conditions are stark, hot, dry and long, with tarantulas and scorpions all over the place. If you can imagine what it would be like trying to cross a barren region with all kinds of people, equipment and poisonous bugs looking for you then you could appreciate the challenge. But the real problem doesn’t lay in the difficulty of the environment or the motivations of the person trying to cross, it is much simpler than that.
There is a tremendous amount of disregard for the human aspect of this problem and we have heard many times, “Those Mexicans are sneaking across the border to take American jobs”, or “If we could just round them all up and send them back”. Obviously there are some problems with those statements, as with any statement made with a large brush and there are important details that need to be examined. The statements are an indication of the mindset and it is this mindset that allows us to forget reason and the simple logic of the situation, the result is people who end up in a poor state and terrible situations.
As we headed West coming sometimes less than a mile from the border I enjoyed the dry heat and the riding, running over Locus and Tarantula and some time a Scorpion. I like seeing the dudes with guns and the check points, the roads were as fantastic as the scenery and I kept thinking we would see some people crawling across the road at any moment. I wondered, if we saw people would we stop at the next check point and tell them about the cat and mouse game, have them picked up and sent back. What I didn’t realize is that Deya was in drawn out state of mourning, with tears in her eyes she saw all the same things that I did but in a different light, a compassionate light. I simply saw the problem and was considering the solutions to the numbers of bagged meat crawling across the desert, I never stopped to think about the people.
When we arrived in Tucson Deya told me about her experience, her eyes watering again, I reminded myself to listen patiently because it is my duty and to remember that she is just being emotional. As she described the scene over the last several weeks, the attitudes from people, the actual illegal aliens we have likely seen and met and told me that despite not agreeing with the decisions to make such a crossing those people are still her fellow Mexicans and she is hurt by the disregard.
I could understand this but it wasn’t until she said, ”How would you feel if you saw a bunch of Canadians struggling across the land, just to be undervalued, underappreciated and abused?” It crushed me, I imagined my fellow Canucks in a state of being in which they actually thought that taking great risk to sneak into a neighbour’s country was the only way to succeed. That they were only good enough to pick up dog shit, berries and work without contribution to the host nation as a low income peasant, isn’t that like slavery? How could a Canadian fall so far to believe that’s all their worth? I wondered if our American cousins could picture their own people grovelling like this, what would it take to put us all in this situation and why aren’t we able to have more compassion for the solution instead of the punishment?
It’s a tough situation that steadily revolves around the law of supply and demand and there are some “enclaves of intelligence”, as a good buddy once put who understands this. I don’t know how to have an impact but all this time in the helmet gives me some room to think and if I can come up with a gem, well, I hope I could do some good. Fortunately there are greater minds than mine working on this problem and we’ve met some. I’m glad that Canada does not have a less fortunate neighbour with these conditions, we are some what insulated.